What has been clear for decades to a steadily increasing number of people inside and outside of Israel, has now become fact that no rational person can deny: The so-called Two State Solution (TSS) is dead. In fact, it never was alive; it is not possible to implement, no matter what American or international pressure (if any) might be applied.
The continuous confiscation of Palestinian lands worked. The building of government-designed, -enabled and -fully supported settlements with massively subsidized housing to attract Israelis, who often do not have any religious or ideological motives but want a nice house at an affordable price, worked.
This strategy worked so well that 10% of Israeli Jews (about 600,000) now live in those settlements and in the officially annexed “East Jerusalem,” which expanded about ten-fold the footprint of Jerusalem since before 1967.
Some 20 peace initiatives (mostly American) based on the TSS were successfully scuttled by Israel. The tactic was formulated over 40 years ago by former Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Intelligence.
If anyone had any doubts, one of Israel’s most respected leaders, who never minced words, said it clearly long ago and it’s true today:
“We must define our position and lay down basic principles for a settlement. Our demands should be moderate and balanced, and appear to be reasonable. But in fact they must involve such conditions as to ensure that the enemy rejects them. Then we should manoeuvre and allow him to define his own position, and reject a settlement on the basis of a compromise solution. We should then publish his demands as embodying unreasonable extremism.” Chief of Intelligence General Yehoshafat Harkabi, Ma’ariv, 2 November 1973
If anyone had any doubts of what the strategy was, consider the words of one of Israel’s wisest, who stated them clearly 40 years ago and they still hold true today:
“The guideline of our policy has always been the idea that a permanent situation of no peace and a latent war is the best situation for us, and that it must be maintained at all costs. … we are becoming stronger year by year in a situation of impending conflict where it is possible that actual fighting may break out from time to time. Such wars will usually be short and the results guaranteed in advance, since the gap between us and the Arabs is increasing. In this way we shall move on from occupation to further occupation. … this criminally mischievous policy has led us into the crisis we are living through today”
Yeshayahu Leibowitz, 30 November 1973
“We have not been seeking peace for twenty-five years — all declarations to that effect have been no more than coloured statements or deliberate lies. There is of course no assurance that we could have made peace with the Arabs if we had wanted to. However, it has to be heavily emphasized that we have not only made no attempts to seek peace, but have deliberately and with premeditation, sabotaged every possibility of doing so.”
Yeshayahu Leibowitz, 30 November 1973
And former Israel Attorney General clarified much later:
“We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. Passionately desiring to keep the occupied territories, we developed two judicial systems: one – progressive, liberal – in Israel; and the other – cruel, injurious – in the occupied territories. In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day.”
Israel’s former Attorney General Michael Ben Yair, 3 March 2002
(The short Op-Ed that includes the above is worth reading. It can be found at: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=136433)
Moreover, an unheeded dire warning was sounded by Israel’s greatest statesman and most passionate defender. From an Op-Ed by Abba Even (Eban), the longtime Israel foreign minister and ambassador to The UN and the USA in the New York Times of Feb. 24, 1988:
“If we insist on ruling an entire territory and population (which was never envisioned when we made the dramatic breakthrough to Jewish statehood), we shall soon lose our Jewish majority, our democratic principles, our hope of ultimate peace, the prospect of avoiding war, the maintenance of our international friendships, the durability of the Egyptian treaty relationship and any chance of a national consensus at home. The status quo is the least viable and the most catastrophic of all the Israeli options.”
New York Times, 24 February 1988
The TSS is dead. It was never alive. So, what now?
Israel has an opportunity to implement the only rational solution that can stop the mutual bloodshed and bring peace and prosperity to Israel and the Palestinians — namely the One State Solution (OSS).
But an enormous roadblock remains. The OSS will be meaningless unless Israel abolishes its longstanding false claim of being Jewish and democratic, and becomes a real democracy, a state of ALL its citizens.
To explain: In Israel, within the Green Line (pre June 5th 1967 border), the Israeli Palestinians who are Israeli citizens were always and still are heavily and officially discriminated against by rules and regulations. The Palestinians in the Occupied Territories (OT) live under full cruel apartheid rule, as stated above by former Israel Attorney General Ben Yair.
We witness these days the bitter reality of the Israeli Arab Bedouins, who are being evicted from their own lands by Israeli government officials, army and police. The Prawer Begin law has passed first reading, and likely to become law. Some 40,000 Bedouins will be dispossessed of their lands without legal recourse, probably even more later.
The Bedouin village of Al Arakib has been destroyed by the police and IDF over 50 times. While Israel Arabs live in a so-called democracy, they are usually left wanting when it comes to budgets for their school systems and municipal services. When a Israeli citizen marries a Palestinian from the OT, they are not allowed to live in Israel with their spouse. These are just a few examples of a long list of discriminations.
A small minority of Israelis advocates changing Israel from the oxymoron “Jewish and democratic” state to “a state of all its citizens” — one that is a true democracy where all enjoy equality before the law.
Such a democratic Israel and an undivided Jerusalem shared by Jews and Palestinians is the only solution that will benefit both peoples and the entire Middle East.
The main reason for the founding and existence of Israel was to be a safe haven for the Jews. Tragically, since 1945, some 25,000 Israelis were killed there, many-fold more than in the rest of the world combined. Israel becoming a country of ALL its citizens, living in peace with the Arab world, would fulfill the original goal. It would stop the bloodshed and stabilize the Middle East.
Perhaps it is not too late for that to happen. If enough Israelis and Diaspora Jews recognize the seriousness of the situation and work seriously to make Israel a true democratic state, it can still happen.